Back to School

The infamous stairway to my campus. Walked 10+ flights of stairs before 10AM!

Yesterday was my first day of school. WHAT. Still can’t believe it. But.. my back to school AND birthday month bring my favorite time of the year. The weather is absolutely perfect: sunny, breezy, sweater and sunglass weather! I love it. I actually enjoyed being outside on campus. Almost all of my textbooks came in the mail yesterday; and I’m always super excited about reading, assignments and new notebooks for the first couple of weeks. Steve and I decided to celebrate this new semester and season with a new veganrie! Well, vegan-friendly-rie :) We took some books and a blanket, headed to the park but somehow found ourselves parked outside a vegan friendly café with some cute sidewalk seating.

Le Salbuen – Montclair, NJ

We were really loving the weather and were excited about dining al fresco! Honestly, I might go there every day before class :O Anyway, let’s get to eating. I was glad to see several items marked V or VV for vegetarian and vegan on the menu, there was probably one for GF gluten-free too. I hate wasting time searching through menu items for vegan-friendly dishes, I love it when restaurants clearly mark their menu. Anyway, the chef either thought we were food critics or is all-too generous and gave us several complimentary samples to try! Unfortunately, I didn’t get a shot of the first appetizer; it was a hummus mousse! Yum, who doesn’t love hummus?

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To start, we tried the Vegan Curry Aioli Roasted Potatoes, YUM. Steve and I love anything with curry. They smelled (and tasted) heavenly.

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Our second complimentary (dish) shot glasses came filled with gluten-free, vegan mushroom soup! I love, love a good mushroom. However, this soup was just ever-so-slightly on the bland side. Maybe a full-size bowl would do it better justice; will have to try on my next visit!

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My dish for the night was Vegan Gumbo accompanied by (I think) Jasmine Rice. It was amazing. I’ve only ever had gumbo once in California pre-vegan, but this dish was great. It was plated so beautifully, but I had to mix it all up :) There was also the option to add chicken or shrimp, for the omnis.

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Steve had the Vegan Walnut Patty served on Raisin Bread with veggies, veganaise and a side salad; he said the sandwich was full of flavor and the perfect combination. Not pictured, he ordered a side of french fries with a dip — Jalapeño Agave Glaze! On the menu it was paired with the sweet potato fries instead, so it might have went better with the sweetnesses combined.

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The absolute perfect end to a delicious meal: Green Tea and French Sea Salt Caramel Lattes! WILL make this my new go-to before school; skip the sugar because it seemed sweet enough. In all honesty though, this was probably one of the best (if not the best) vegan lattes I’ve ever had! — And I’ve even worked in the cafe at Whole Foods Market and made my OWN vegan latte, didn’t compare to this green beauty.

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All in all, I gave Le Salbuen 4 out of 5 stars; you can check out the review I left them here. The atmosphere was trendy, yet intimate, and a great place for a night with your boo or a coffee date with a friend. (The outdoor seating + christmas lights + candles really won me over from first sight.) The food was a bit upscale for a cafe, but the yummy vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options were worth it. The chefs generosity was a major plus; also his plating skills are out of this world! Unfortunately no vegan dessert options, but the awesome latte made up for it. Definitely a must-go in my book and I’ll be making my way back soon (hint, before my next class) for a latte and to see the new specials!

Our findings on the streets of Montclair.

If you check out Le Salbuen, let me know what you think in the comments below :) I wish you all luck with your fall semesters or the upcoming fall season! Until next time, lotus loves xo

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4 Comments on “Back to School

  1. I love that more and more restaurants are becoming more aware of the growing vegetarian/vegan community. We have an entirely vegan restaurant in Iowa City and it is amazing. They have a complete menu than anyone would love – and vegans drool over. I love their lentil tacos with housemade coleslaw and cashew cream!

    • Sounds delicious! I love it too, even when typical omivorous restaurants have a special vegan item or full seperate vegan menu. I go to a regular Jersey diner near me, and they offer everything from vegan pancakes to tofu scramble! Or how TCBY ice cream locations are now offering almond milk soft serve! It makes me so happy to know that veganism is spreading so widely.

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